PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2012, 12:00am


Animals deserve rights, just like us

Animal rights are just as important as human rights. If you feel pity for animals when you see them being abused, you will agree.

Animals suffer abuse all around the world. During every hunting season, Japanese fishermen kill hundreds of dolphins in very cruel ways. Fishermen simply butcher the dolphins as they thrash about helplessly.

Or take illegal hunters in Africa. Poachers kill scores of endangered species like elephants and rhinos just for their prized body parts. At times, they are still alive when hunters chop off their tusks or horns. Imagine their suffering.

Even in Hong Kong there are lots of cases of animal abuse. According to police, between 2009 and 2011, the number of animal abuse cases rose by 10 per cent. They included twisting the limbs of pets, soaking them in water, and burning them with fire-lighters. Would you do these things to human beings?

All species have a right to live in our beautiful planet, from the smallest to the largest. They have the right to have control over their own lives.

Chang Alan Chi-leung, Yuen Long Merchants Association Secondary School

Racism remains a big problem

Despite some progress in recent years, racism and discrimination are alive and well. Many of us continue to classify others based on their skin colour and country of origin.

Racism exists not only globally but also here in Hong Kong. Many people are unaware how much racism still exists in our schools, at workplaces, and in society.

It is about time we began seriously addressing this matter. Nobody is born a racist. People develop racist views because of their environment and upbringing. We need to educate them about the issue.

Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city so it is sad that racist attitudes still persist. It is no one's fault if he or she is born with black skin or white skin.

We have to look beyond the differences that set us apart.

Sadia Bi-bi, Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo)

Ping Chau needs more amenities

The small island of Tung Ping Chau in the New Territories has recently been recognised as a geo park.

As a result, it has attracted a lot of visitors. But many are disappointed. A usual complaint is that there are not enough tuck shops to provide tourists with water and food.

There were three shops serving visitors several years ago, but they were all closed down because they operated without proper licences. The shop owners tried to apply for valid licences but their applications were rejected based on the location.

Now that Tung Ping Chau has been named an international geo park, we can expect more and more tourists to go there. It is time we eased the restrictions on local shop owners.

A notice by the Home Affairs Department in the local pier reminds people to bring water and food during a visit to the island. That warning is hardly enough.

What's more, mobile networks do not cover Tung Ping Chau. So people cannot call for help in case of an emergency.

Hopefully, concerned departments will take notice and resolve the problems.

Jan Wong, Tin Ka Ping Secondary School (Fanling)

E-textbooks are a great idea

Education Secretary Michael Suen Ming-yueng tried to bring down the prices of textbooks.

However, his efforts backfired because publishers refused to lower prices on titles on the Education Department's list of recommended textbooks.

The move to have textbooks and supplementary teaching materials offered separately also failed. Many schools and students will end up having to pay more, as a result.

Suen's new idea is a HK$50 million plan to encourage the development of e-books. That could help parents save on teaching materials for their children.

I welcome this initiative. As a bonus, e-books are also far more environmentally friendly than traditional paper books.

On the downside, to read e-books you need e-readers or tablets. Many families cannot afford those devices. The government should provide subsidies for them from the Community Care Fund.

Sam Ho Cho-yung, STFA Tam Pak Yu College